Panama City, Panama
We’ve all heard of Panama but not many of us have paid it a visit. It might be that whenever we think of Panama, we immediately picture the Panama Canal and associate this country to commerce, or maybe we connect it to Central and South America’s insecurity. To be honest, both options crossed my mind when a friend of mine recommended I take a trip there. I laughed and told her “Yeah right. Someday!”. That’s when she proceeded to bombard me with pictures of an oceanfront eco and yogi-friendly hotel in Cambutal. The photos of the hotel and its surroundings left me in awe. Literally. They were everything I look for when visiting eco hotels for the blog. Therefore, without hesitating, I contacted the hotel and booked myself a ticket to Panama City. This mesmerizing eden, Sansara Resort, is located in Cambutal, which is a 7-10 hour (all depends on your transportation method: bus, taxi, car) drive away from Panama City so it’s always best if you stay in Panama City overnight and leave to Cambutal early in the morning the next day. That’s exactly what I did but I also took an extra day to tour around Panama City on a tour bus. Yeap! It was funnier than I expected and I even got to visit almost every important monument! The next day at 7am, I took the bus from Panama City to Tonosi (7 hrs) and another one from Tonosi to Cambutal (40 minutes). I know what you guys must be thinking right now… “This girl is crayyyyy”….but honestly people, the drive was totally worth it! As soon as I arrived at Sansara Resort’s doorstep, it felt as if I had reached an exotic nirvana in the middle of nowhere. No car engine sounds, no people screaming on the streets, no polluted air. Pure quiet nature-loving bliss! I was welcomed by the owners, Janel and Mike. A Canadian couple in their thirties who left it all to chase their dream of traveling, yoga, surfing and nature. Mike, a former pro skier, building contractor, photographer, and entrepreneur, and Janel, a former high-school teacher and now enlightened yoga teacher, designed and built Sansara from the ground up. 8 cabanas handmade with tropical hardwood furniture and original art pieces revealing the culture of Panama. Each room carries a little bit of the essence of this inspiring power couple. From the way the rooms are decorated with recycled wood pieces and showers made out of raw stone, to the aromatherapy oils diffused out of crystal stones in every bathrooms. The 4 days I spent there were absolute happiness! Janelle and Mike did not only become good friends of mine immediately but they also shine everything I admire in a married couple. Joy, light, connection, peace, adventure, freedom and laughter. Tons of it!
During my stay I got a chance to take surf lessons with Nic. They felt more like life lessons, to be honest! It was magical. I’ve taken surf lessons before but no teacher truly understood or explained the surfers’ connection with the ocean, as Nic did. He taught me so much besides surfing that I can’t even manage to put it into exact words. He’s probably one of the few souls I’ve met since I started WTS that truly gets the love, respect and admiration I have towards nature. If I had to summarize his teachings in one sentence it would be: “Let go of your ego and fear, breathe in the ocean, flow with it, feel it. Connect. Be present!”. I’ve decided to apply that rule to everything I do in life because every word that came out of this man’s mouth during those 2-hr classes per day did not only leave me in awe but made me realize even further that nature is our greatest teacher.
Food… this is probably another of my favorite travel topics just because… finding vegan food when traveling is so damn HARD!!!! Thankfully, Sansara had a delicious plantbased menu and a wide variety of healthy vegan smoothies, as well. The ones I recommend 100% are:
-Scrambled chickpeas& veggies
-Polenta (comes on top of sautéed kale. Sooo gooood!!!)
-Fruit salad with Chia Yogurt/Pudding
-Hummus & Veggies sampler
-Funky Monkey (Banana, Chocolate, Coffee & Coconut Yogurt).
My morning yoga classes and long conversations with Janel, my soul sister, were delightful too! She has a vast knowledge not only of every asana but also of the spirituality some yoga teachers sadly forget to transmit to their students. Yoga is much more than the flow of your body, guys. It’s about the mind and soul connection and Janelle depicts that energy perfectly.
And Mike… funniest and happiest man alive! He’ll make you have the best time of your life during your stay at Sansara while also making you feel at home. Welcomed. Part of their lovely team and family. A light-irradiating personality that is very hard to find nowadays.
And last but not least, there are tons of other activities you can enjoy during your stay. Sansara has kayaks, paddleboards, and surf boards waiting for you to carry them to the ocean, and also cute blue bikes you can take for a stroll through green mountains with mesmerizing views! Now... what are you babes waiting for?? The world is out there... waiting to be explored! Make the most of it.
Things to know about SANSARA:
-Yes, they have excellent WiFi! (I was there when the IT guy came and installed the fastest one in town ;) )
-Children under 14 are not allowed for tranquility reasons
-Lots of vegan, vegetarian options available
-Almond milk and fresh coffee available every morning :D
-Sansara also has a boutique store with swimwear handmade in Panama, tees, etc.
-There's a direct flight from Panama to Las Tablas. Nope, I did not find out about it until arrived at Sansara. :( Ask the hotel about those easier travel options.
-To reserve contact Sansara.